Friday, December 09, 2016


In their 2014 paper Becksploitation: The Over-use of a Cartographic Icon Kenneth Field and William Cartwright rail against the overuse and parody of Harry Beck's iconic London Underground map. In their paper Field & Cartwright argue that Beck's map has become widely overused as a map metaphor and is now often used as "a short‐cut approach that rides on the success of someone else’s hard work, perhaps with the principle aim of getting a job done rapidly".

To emphasize this exploitation of Beck's London Underground map Field & Cartwright created their own London Underground map which links to over 220 examples of people copying or parodying Beck's classic design, You can view the original Beckploitation map on Kenneth Field's Cartonerd blog.

Of course Field & Cartwright's paper on the overuse of Harry Beck's iconic Underground map has had little effect on the number of people copying Beck's tube map design. His iconic design is an easily reproduced and recognized map metaphor and parodies of the map continue to be created on an almost weekly basis.

Kenneth Field has therefore been able to update his meta-Becksploitation map with many more examples of Harry Beck inspired maps. Field's new End of the Line: A Tube Map of Tube Maps Parody Map now includes almost 300 maps inspired by the London Underground map. In both the original Beckploitation map and this new updated version each London Underground Station on the map is an example of a Beck inspired parody map. If you click on a station name, on either map, you can view a thumbnail image of the parody and then click on the thumbnail to view the linked map.

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